Breakfast at Tiffany’s: A Crossover Between the Book and the Film

The great thing about buying several books before even starting the ones you have previously bought is having a shelf full of unread books ready to be rediscovered whenever you feel like it. That’s how I ended up with Truman Capote’s Breakfast at Tiffany’s, a marvelous book that inspired the iconic film featuring Audrey Hepburn. Since I’ve ended up re-watching the film after finishing the book and I haven’t talked about books in the blog for a while, I’ve decided to share some thoughts about the book and the movie.

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Of course books are usually better than the movie (with the exception of maybe one or two films) and Breakfast at Tiffany’s is no different. Truman Capote’s novel wasn’t meant to be an iconic film and he didn’t have Audrey Hepburn or George Peppard on his mind when he wrote the characters of Holly Golightly and “Fred”, giving his story a total different mood. The “habit” of having breakfast at Tiffany’s, for example, is a mere part of a dialogue in the novel, while in the film is the iconic introduction. “I want to still be me when I wake up one fine morning and have breakfast at Tiffany’s”.

With that, Capote’s piece is way cooler once the setting is in the 50s instead of the 60s. Paul Varjak, who has no name in the book, is a narrator with way more personality and active presence in the story rather than George Axelrod’s script. In fact, Paul is a homosexual in Capote’s novel, admitting to have had fallen in love for two men before falling in love for Holly. Holly has also a memorable dialogue in the book about falling in love with men and women that was shamelessly cut from the film, despite having most dialogues taken from Capote’s book.

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Which in fact, that’s what Breakfast at Tiffany‘s novel is about. Is a short story full of incredible and long dialogues about this crazy and unpredictable girl, who despite being marvelously portrayed by the iconic Audrey Hepburn, still feels more “out of her trolley” in the book, talking non-stop about what she thinks and doing unpredictable things. George Axelrod’s script took a great part of that to the movie, but it felt a little tiresome to extend a 110-page story to an almost 120-minute film. Especially with that melodramatic heterosexual Hollywood story-arc, once Holly actually leaves to Brazil in the book instead of ending up with Paul. The producers of the movie themselves said this was an unadaptable piece since this was a homosexual main character story falling in love with a prostitute and no happy ending.

But that was Hollywood in the early 60s and Truman Capote didn’t have the Code Rays to stop publishers from releasing books. The ending of Blake Edward’s film, even though it doesn’t conclude exactly how the book went, it finishes with a beautiful scene between Audrey Hepburn and George Peppard fighting in a cap and kissing in the rain, resulting in one of the most known classics of all time. This was my third time watching Breakfast at Tiffany’s and I had a completely different experience from the first and second time I’ve watched. So if you are a big fan of Breakfast at Tiffany’s, please, make sure to read the novel, because maybe you’ll have a different viewing too.